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WhatsApp's latest update stops spammers targeting you – here's how to use it

WhatsApp group chat privacy controls
(Image credit: WhatsApp)

With a massive global userbase, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is a great way to stay in touch with friends, family and colleague. One of the most useful features of the app is group chat, enabling you to share message, photos and more with several people at once. But group chat is also open to abuse.

Or at least it was. After introducing new controls in India, WhatsApp is now implementing new privacy controls for users around the world. An update to the iOS and Android versions of the app is rolling out now, and it allows you to choose who is able to add you to a group chat.

Until now it was possible for anyone to add anyone else to a chat – something which was abused to send spam messages and links to scam sites. But now you can be more discerning about who can add you to chats.

How to protect yourself

Within the settings of the updated version of the app, there are three options to choose from that can be used to tailor things to meet your privacy needs.

Head to 'Settings > Account > Privacy > Groups' to see the available settings. If you select 'Everyone', nothing will change, and anyone will be able to add you to a group chat. Select 'My contacts' and only people in your address book will be able to add you. The final option is 'My contacts except', which lets you prevent certain contacts from being able to add you to chats.

This last option was previously 'Nobody', but WhatsApp decided to give people greater control over their settings. It's still possible to block everyone from adding to you to group chats by activating the 'My contacts except' option and then selecting all of your contacts.

While the new privacy option is being made available immediately, the rollout is a gradual process, so you might not see it for a day or two.

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